October is upon us in all its frisky fabulousness, so let’s carpe the diem and drink excellently.

Syrah is a rising star, so get your astro-awareness on by tasting a smorgasbord of styles...

Theory & Practice Hawke's Bay Pinot Gris 2016 $20

I love the classic lift of nashi pear and apple strudel spices on the nose and palate of this gorgeous fuder-fermented wine. A fuder is a 1000-litre oak cask, which adds just the softest hint of toast and creaminess to an aromatic white. Despite being so new it's basically infanticide to drink it, this wine is rich, generously proportioned and pings with flavour.

Sip with: Blue cheese and caramelised onion pizza.


Stonecroft Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 $20

I think it's the extra couple of years it's had in the bottle to mature that really makes all the difference with this sauvignon. It's also sealed with a cork and you don't see much of that these days. Clean, soft and tantalisingly tropical, it's gently juicy, fabulously floral and is an absolute joy to drink. The first three words I wrote when sipping it for the first time were "lovely", "lovely" and "lovely".

Sip with: Moroccan-style courgette fritters.

Anna Maria Abbona Dolcetto Dogliani Sori dij But 2013 $27

In Piedmontese, "sori" means the sunny south face of a hill. "But" or "butti" is the name of the gorgeous wee village where Anna Maria and her husband Franco have their house and cellar. This Dolcetto is fruity and juicy because it's been fermented and aged in stainless steel instead of oak barrels. I love the vivid colour and aromas of blueberries, black tea, violets and spice. It's tangy, floral and stacked with fruit.

Sip with: Strong, peppery, garlicky salami.